US actor, Jussie Smollett, has been indicted on sixteen felony counts of falsely reporting to police that he was assaulted by two masked men shouting racist and homophobic slurs.
The 36-year-old Empire actor, who is openly gay, was arrested and charged last month in a single-count criminal complaint, on accusation that he falsely reported he was attacked on January 29 by two strangers who hurled racial and homophobic slurs, beat him, threw an unidentified liquid chemical on him and looped a rope tied like a noose around his neck.
Chicago police initially investigated the incident as a possible hate crime but later said Smollett staged the attack, recruiting two brothers to carry it out, in a hoax orchestrated to somehow further his acting career
Smollett reportedly apologized last month to the cast and crew on the set of Empire but maintained his innocence. Since his arrest, the producers of Empire announced that the actor’s character would be removed from the season’s final two episodes.